I need to be able to set the system time using 'date' as a regular user.

I have a non-networked pc connected to a GPS receiver and would like to sync the time to GPS time. Needs to be done from a script and can't require password prompt.

Thinking that I can change the permissions on the date cmd to enable execution by any user. Is this possible and how do I do it? Any other suggestions?

UPDATE Using sudo is acceptable, just can't require a password prompt. Sentance edited above.

  • Date is a command owned by root, changing permission will require sudo. Why not simply ask your admin ? Feb 5, 2016 at 0:44
  • I am the admin. I needed to know how to enable another user.
    – tcashin
    Feb 5, 2016 at 6:19

1 Answer 1


You have two options, for both you'll need root access (sudo) to setup.

  1. Use sudo to allow a specific user to run /bin/date as root. man sudoers and man sudo to learn more.

  2. Use Linux' capability CAP_SYS_TIME to let /bin/date set time without root. man capabilities and man setcap to learn more.

Complete guide could be found here: (read the two answers) https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/78299/allow-a-specific-user-or-group-root-access-without-password-to-bin-date

  • Thanks. Been awhile since I've used Ubuntu and the sudoers file and man page is not for the faint hearted. Think I figured it out. BTW, I was also able to accomplish my goal by setting suid on /bin/date. Any reason why that would be good or bad?
    – tcashin
    Feb 5, 2016 at 6:22
  • Assuming that suid on /bin/date works, it provides no control what so ever, and allows all the users of the system to do the same as well as it allows ALL capabilities to /bin/date.
    – niry
    Feb 5, 2016 at 6:40

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